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Scott's Ironman Blog

September 2007

Peak week done

Posted by niemsco Sep 30, 2007

THURSDAY Recovery run:

This was the best run I've had since Ironman. Nice and slow. For a lot of people it is hard to run slow. Most people still do recovery runs in Zone II and Zone III even, having the Rocky mentality, everything is medium to hard intensity. Of course that was me, I ran 10 marathons, and I never really knew how to train for one until I trained for Ironman. The adaptions the body goes in Zone I are crucial for endurance performance. Two things enzymatic and hormonal changes take place in the muscle cells that make it easier for fat to be used for fuel, second, improvements to the body's circulatory characteristics in the peripheral muscles will help you move waste products away from the muscle tissue and bring new blood, oxygen, and fuel to the muscle for more work. These adaptions are most prevelant in Zone I, so endurance atheletes shouldn't underestimate this


Workout : 40 minute run AHR (average HR): 133, 92 cadence


I actually enjoy these runs the best. You should be as tired when you stop as when you started, meaning not tired at all. Its a good feeling to be able to run like this. And actually if you can do this run at a 85-95 cadence at a low HR, then its more of indication of what kind of shape you are than a hard run. Not to say it means your fast. I didn't do too much speed work for Ironman, and so I'm not really sure about the speed aspects. I'll do some short intervals next week to see how that goes.


In the PM I got a massage. But I'm starting to feel sore later that night. The guy went too deep I think. I've used the same guy for a long time and he's excellent. But this time I feel some discomfort. See how it works out the next day.


FRIDAY: I had not planned to do any aerobic work today. I did end up going to the gym, just to get out of the office, and I did about 45 minutes of core work and light lifting of the upper body. No leg work at all. I spun a little on the bike also just trying to losen up, did some stretching. Legs are slightly in discomfort still, mostly in my quads and shins where I was having the massage yesterday. Actually most of my problems are always in the calves, hamstrings, and gluts. They seem all right.



This was a tough run. Plan was to warmup in zone I 15 minutes / Zone 2 for 10 minutes, then do a continous run of 3 x (1 mile 7:30, 1 Mile 6:30), then 10 minute cool down. All in all its a 75 minute continous run with six fairly hard miles. I did a similar workout during IM training, where I didn't do so well. I did better here and I ended up with splits fairly close and did much better on the last 2. Always try to finish your strongest ones at the end:


7:34 / 6:38

7:38 / 6:38

7:30 / 6:34


AHR was low 160s for the 7:30 miles, and mid 170s for 6:30 miles. I did this on a marked course again. My threshold is around 167-168, so this is probably ok. Who knows... I have some serious aches after this I went to the Michigan vs. Northwestern football game right after this, I live right next to the stadium more or less. Sitting on my butt for 3+ hours didn't help. I had a sore behind for the rest of the day!



Did a zone 1 run at 135 AHR for 56 minutes. Great day out, hopefully it will be nice next week. Last year at Chicago it was in the 30s at start time and a bit windy (as usual). Man was that cold. I also planned to do a recovery swim today but I think I'll skip it. I went out to breakfast with the family and am headed out to KiddieLand later today!


At the end of the week just a few minor aches which I'll need to rest up on. The plantar issues in my left foot have flared up after IM. I've had these problems for years, but they haven't been around for at least a year. I'm going to have to stretch it out, I have a boot I can wear to keep it stretched. I've been putting in too many calories, so I've gained a few pounds. But this is typical after a big race for me. Sometimes I gain as much as 10 pounds after a big race! But I've only gained two so not a big deal...

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Starting for Chicago!

Posted by niemsco Sep 26, 2007

So I've started my training plan for the Chicago marathon which is two weeks away. Tough to figure out what to actually do, but I have the old coach to help me out. I finished IM Wisconsin a little over two weeks ago, so I will count that as my last long run...


I ran six out of seven days last week, but that was idiotic. The reason I kept running is because I got these Newton shoes. Yes I am a gear junkie. Newton was at IM Wisconsin and I noticed a lot of people on the marathon course were wearing them. I had to see what this was all about, and besides I had to retire my racing shoes and needed a new pair anyway. So I just kept running every day, but no more than 60 minutes, more around 40-45 minutes, trying to keep it in HR Zone 1 and 2. But that fell apart last Saturday when I decided to do some tempo, and then run a hard 90 minutes the day after. Ok now that I have that silliness out of my system, its time to get smart. By the way I like the shoes, they definitely promote forefoot running. I will wear them in the marathon. I am not sold yet on the cushioning aspects. I wore Asics at 9.5 ounces in the IM marathon, and that is pretty light. These Newtons are 10.5 ounces. They have a 9.5 ounce version, but best start with the cushioned ones before I spend more money on these shoes.


So far this week I've done the following:


Monday : plan was to rest. Gold star for me, I nailed this one! However I got it in my head that I would try a sleeping pill to see if that could help me sleep. I have not been sleeping through the night for months. I do drink a lot of coffee, and am stressed a lot at work. I figure I would try something when I still got two weeks to go before the marathon. I found out that was a great mistake!


Tuesday: The plan here is to get some speed in. The idea is to get some intensity work in on a lower volume. The workout was 12x400m in sets of 3 (1 easy threshold, 2 hard threshold, 3 hard as you can go, resting the time it took to do the interval in between the next, if that makes any sense). Similar workout to what I was doing for IM for speed. I don't run on the track, I hate the track, but fortunately there is a marked path a few miles from my house I can run to and do the 400s on a nice level asphalt trail. I felt horrible by the way. I was dizzy and out of it still the next day from the sleeping pill. Plus I was on the phone all morning on conference calls. I'm lucky enough to work from home on many days, so I would go out and do this run around noon. It decided it would be 82 degrees and humid in the Chicago area in late September!! The weather has been crazy around here. So I ran out to the trail, and started the intervals, 1, 2, 3, and after the third one which I ran as fast as possible, my stomach just exploded! I had some bad stomach issues that just crept out of no where. I decided just to run slowly and see what happened and they magically disappeared. So I started the next set, 1, 2, 3 and after the third, BOOM! I new I was in trouble at this point. I was two miles from home and decided I need to start heading back now. It was the longest two miles I went in a long time. I limped back the last mile. I felt horrible the rest of the day, and couldn't figure out if IM fatigue was catching up with me or it was the cold medicine. By why the stomach problems from cold medicine? Maybe my eyes are bigger than my stomach and I should skip Chicago, and plan for the old Trick or Treat trot! I have another hard run on Saturday, threshold run, I will see how I do there before making any judgements.


Wednesday: Swimming! I haven't swam since IM, but was going to spend some time in the pool, about 30-40 minutes. Basically my plan was the following:


Warmup :6x50 @ 1:15


main set

3x100 @ RI 30

2 x 200 @ RI 30 N/S

3x100 @ RI 30

cool down: 4x50 @ 1:15


So I started the first 50, and I was a little out of breath. I was thinking to myself I forgot how to swim! I kept at it, and it wasn't getting much better. When I got the main set and started with the 100s, it started getting better, I realized I was too tense. My recovery arm was stiff for some reason. Then the 200s were fine. And all of a sudden on the 100s I was swimming faster than I've ever swam before. I was coming in under 1:40 on the 100s. What the heck is going on around here. I tried to focus on a faster stroke rate while being relaxed, and it was actually working. I didn't expect this to happen. During my IM training I could never get under 1:45 on my 100s, even when I was going hard. And I was going 1:37 without going that hard. I hope I can repeat this, but it gives me some hope on getting my swim times down. Very strange. I certainly could not hold this pace for 2.4 miles, but I've got a year to work on that.


In any event, my legs feel a bit better after that, stomach is good, but I have a headache (but this could be work), got into the hot tub and jetted back to the office. I almost forgot my locker combination since I haven't been to the pool for so long, I almost had someone come down and break the lock open! Getting old.... But finally I remembered. Got a few recovery days coming up then a hard run on Saturday, hopefully that goes well.

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IM Wisconsin and Life After

Posted by niemsco Sep 24, 2007

I finished IM Wisconsin a few weeks ago, and since then I've been suffering from training withdrawal. I started doing Triathlon in March of 2007 coming from a run background. I was always skeptical of getting into Triathlon, specifically the Ironman as the time it took training for the event didn't seem realistic compared with my life schedule. On a good week for a Marathon I would train maybe 10 hours a week, that was max. Ironman could easily double that. I'm married and have a 5 year old, so I said what the heck might as well try it out, I'm not getting any younger.





Problem was I haven't swam in a pool, other than on vacation (and that's not swimming) since I was a kid, and only mountain biked recreationally. I thought my endurance being a marathon runner for 3 years would mean something in the pool, but I found out quickly it means nothing (actually it counts for something once you "learn" how to swim)! I never had a coach, but I figured I need to learn how to swim or I can forget about swimming 2.4 miles. So I met up with someone who was supposed to be a pretty talented coach, was an NCAA Division I assistant coach at Bucknell, and ASCA level IV. I found that bit out afterwards. Little did I know this guy did five Ironmans already and did Wisconsin, the one I was planning on, the year before. So I hooked up with him and started on a training plan to get there. I had a little less than six months to get there.



It was a rough road, and it took forever for me to get comfortable in the pool. In my first 1/2 Ironman I panicked and got out of the lake after minutes! It was the hardest thing I had ever faced in racing. I immediately wanted to just give the entire thing up and go back to running. Eventually I kept at it, and decided maybe I should try an Olympic (the 1/2 Iron was my first race!). When I finally found one in Michigan that fit my plans, I drove 3 hours from Illinois to the race site, only to find out the rip currents were making the swim too dangerous. It was like a washing machine out there. They modified the swim to be about 500 meters to be safe. It was going from bad to worse for me here, but I did eventually make the swim, even though it wasn't really like swimming, we just all got knocked around a bunch and had a hard time even seeing buoys, the coast guard advised against the swim, we shouldn't have been out there, but no one wanted to do a Duathlon. Eventually I finished with 2:16 which placed fifth in my age group (35-39). Not like there was a lot of people there, but I'll take fifth. After that I pretty much conquered most of my fears, and was thinking maybe this was the thing for me.



I then did the Racine, WI 1/2 Iron and finished in 5:10, which was my first distance race. The swim was ok, 40 minutes. I realized I swim all over the place in a long open water swim. Something to work on definitely! I must have swam 1.5 miles instead of 1.2. However I was laughing after I got out of the lake, I was so happy just to finish.



When IM Wisconsin rolled around I really didn't know what to expect. A mass start of 2200 people was an eye opener. I got knocked around pretty good, and plus I swam off course twice, it was a two loop event. I ran into the canoes twice with some other guy. I was following him! Just goes to show you don't trust someone to sight for you, they may be crazier than you! The bike course was really tough, and the coach warned me about it quite often. I live about 3 hours away from it, so I trained on it a few times. Under six hours would be extremely difficult for me. I didn't do any really training on the bike except learning how to go long. I relied on my fitness from running to really get me to where I needed to go, another area to improve on.



When it came down to it, I pretty much held back in the swim 1:23, and bike 6:20 because I had no idea how I would react in the marathon. I hear this is where most people pay for going out too hard. Its much different than a half iron, and I only ran 60 minutes before off of a 6 hour bike. My transition runs were kept to 60 minutes or under by my coach. He must know what he's talking about because I passed almost 500 people on the run. I ran 4hrs exactly (some seconds), considering I'm a 3:15 marathoner. I think 30-45 minutes off your straight time is what most people say, assuming you didn't kill yourself on the bike. In the end 12:02:17 which I'll take, top 28%, and I actually had some kick at mile 20 and ran hard the last six miles (walking through the aid stations though).



To be honest I wasn't on cloud nine or jumping for joy, or standing in line to get my M-Dot tattoo after finishing. I was more close to, "I guess that's it". Didn't hit me until days later how much I really liked it, how much I wanted to relive crossing that finish line. So now I have the Kona bug, and next year I want to qualify for Kona, so a good two hours off that time is what I need at Wisconsin. I'm going to start training with a powermeter on the bike and I need to straighten things out on the swim and build some strength. I'm going to IM Arizona as a benchmark to see where I am to see if Kona is a possibility in IM Wisconsin 08.



BUT before all that I'm going to run the Chicago Marathon which is in a few weeks. I swore to myself on the IM marathon course there was no way I'm running Chicago, forget it. But because of the withdrawal sickness, I have decided to go ahead with it. I've done it a few times before and I think its just a great race, I don't really care how fast I go, I'm not looking for PRs. But I also want to capitalize on some IM shape. Being a month after IM though.... not sure what to expect. I've been doing some running and feel kind of good. Did 90 minutes yesterday and some pace work at the end. But I'm paying today!



I may still decide to bail out on it, but its going to be a long winter training indoors in the Chicago area for IM Arizona. The weather isn't that great. But I'm super psyched to get going again! Madison is an awesome race!



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